an algorithm and an artist carefully compose portraits from thousands of lines of thread

an algorithm and an artist carefully compose portraits from thousands of lines of thread

artist ani abakumova and her mathematically-gifted husband andrey abakumov work together to create these intricate portraits made from thousands of lines of thread. andrey generated an algorithm that allows ani to ‘use threads in all possible colors’, which overlap and overlay to form realistic representations of the mona lisa, the girl with the pearl earring, and many others. paintings of old masters, and portraits of beautiful women come to life in a new light through technology. the portraits have been informed by the work of new media artist petros vrellis, who first introduced knitted algorithmic art back in 2016.

ani abakumova
all images courtesy of ani abakumova



while ani is responsible for the physical artworks, andrey works on their digital aspects and calculations. each artwork is made using only colored thread, which is carefully attached to nails that line the circumference of the image setting. the multilayered composition, comprising overlapping hues and tones of thread, eventually come together to form each of the facial characteristics. more than 8,000 lines of threads — spanning roughly 4 kilometers — are used to create each portrait. however, ani and andrey are planning to increase the scale of their projects, and also accept personal portrait commissions as well.


see more on ani’s instagram here, and progress videos on youtube here.

ani abakumova

ani abakumova

ani abakumova

ani abakumova



project info: 


artist: ani abakumova
digital and computational collaborator: andrey abakumov

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